Famous tribute collaborations where musicians are visibly having fun...
May 12, 2016 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I recently spent an evening in a 'related video' YouTube rabbit hole, starting out with this amazing rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps featuring Prince from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I'm looking for similar performances where you can see the musicians involved truly enjoying themselves, maybe showing off a little bit, and obviously having a really good time while they're doing it. Other examples inside:

What made me ask this question was how much I enjoyed the above example, but also how clearly everyone in this version of Handle with Care from the GeorgeFest (Harrison) tribute concert is having a blast. Also, how not just the band, but also Pete/Roger during this Kennedy Center honor of The Who, featuring NYC fire/police. Can you think of any similar performances I'd also enjoy? Please note that I'm looking for famous folks, no matter how much fun that video of your college jam band might be.
posted by librarianamy to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

A lot of the stuff from the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense will probably work, but I especially like Slippery People.

Tina Turner did a concert film for her "Private Dancer" tour on HBO, and her duet with David Bowie looks like fun.

A lot of Peter Gabriel's live stuff is lively, especially if you can find a live version of "In Your Eyes" that features Youssou N'Dour. He also likes to do a lot of kooky things when he plays live, too - like playing something from inside a Zorb or covering himself with lights for "Sledgehammer". So just poke around through his live stuff.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sonic Youth's riotous television debut on the Letterman show.
posted by Brittanie at 6:47 AM on May 12, 2016

Noel Gallagher, playing in a stadium in Argentina, explains to the crowd that he'd first been there 20 years earlier as a roadie. Then sings Don't Look Back In Anger, and chokes up when the crowd sings along. Those without a deeply ingrained impulse to hate on Noel Gallagher may find this to be quite wonderful.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 6:57 AM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Does it count as a tribute performance if the original artist is involved in it too?

John Mayer and Keith Urban are a lot of fun to watch together. They clearly admire each other and have a blast playing together. Here's a great example - they are performing Keith's song "Sweet Thing". The whole concert is them playing each other's songs and have a ton of fun doing it.

I also love this performance of "Coat of Many Colours" by Shania Twain and her idol Dolly Parton (also featuring Alison Krauss). Very touching if you watched the interview with Shania just prior, in which she explained how her life had been affected by growing up very poor.
posted by yawper at 7:08 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

A lot of the performances on Live From Daryl's House are like this.
posted by penguinicity at 7:19 AM on May 12, 2016 [6 favorites]

....Oh God, I just now noticed the "tribute" qualifier on your request. Oops.

Actually, you could just take a deep dive into any of the Kennedy Center Honors stuff because everyone's having a damn blast at those things. One of my favorite other clips is this one where Snoop Dogg comes out to do a riff on "Gin and Juice" to Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island". Even Michelle Obama raises the roof to that one. The entire salute to Tom Hanks also would work, because they push everything into over-the-top scale for a bit of comedy and a bit of a tease; and Sting covering "The Rising" during the salute to Springsteen was the big showstopper (watch for a clip they show of Bill Irwin, in the audience, absolutely losing his damn mind clapping and singing along). And it's not a musical bit, but Jon Stewart's intro to the Springsteen tribute just kills it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:43 AM on May 12, 2016

Oh! And at the 2008 inauguration tribute concert, Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen had a damn blast with This Land Is Your Land (and watch in the crowd where you can see George Lucas singing along).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:47 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

A lot of the performances on Live From Daryl's House are like this.
posted by penguinicity

Yes, can't agree more wholeheartedly. Plus, it is well-produced overall, and there's no annoying audience noises.
posted by yesster at 7:51 AM on May 12, 2016

The audio is horribly clipped and compressed unfortunately, but this ensemble performance of Wagon Wheel has infectious joy.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by tribute, but this ensemble performance of This Year by and with the Mountain Goats has a lot of energy and catharsis, especially from Craig Finn.
posted by Candleman at 8:00 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

How about an oldie...A Black and White Night (Roy Orbison and friends.
posted by txmon at 9:03 AM on May 12, 2016

If you can find the video, Sam Smith at the memorial for George Harrison. It's not on the album.
posted by justcorbly at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2016

Heart's rendition of Stairway to Heaven at The Kennedy Center Honors: Led Zeppelin, included Jason Bonham, the son of the late John Bonham, on drums. It's spectacular, though maybe in this case, the musicians seem more honored, thrilled, and emotional than just having a blast.
posted by juliplease at 9:57 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

Wilco, Nick Lowe, and Mavis Staples rehearse The Weight, and everyone is stoked about it. If you like that, their performance is in the related videos, and there are some more of Jeff Tweedy playing with Mavis Staples.
posted by clavicle at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2016 [2 favorites]

How about this spontaneous tribute to Harry Belafonte when the entire crew of performers on USA for Africa break out into Banana Boat Song ? One of my favourites in this category.
posted by jamaal at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Pure joy: Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran & Gary Clark Jr. Tribute to Stevie Wonder

Love it or hate it: Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake's History of Rap series.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:39 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oh, this hasn't been posted yet: Annie Lennox and David Bowie doing Under Pressure in tribute to Freddie Mercury.
posted by jamaal at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2016 [3 favorites]

Neil Young jamming with Led Zeppelin at the 1995 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame jam. Everyone is having a blast.
posted by zzazazz at 10:47 AM on May 12, 2016

Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Steven Van Zandt, and Elvis Costello doing "London Calling" at the 2003 Grammys, in tribute to Joe Strummer.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:50 AM on May 12, 2016

Also, Beyonce and Tina Turner singing "Proud Mary" at the 2008 Grammys.
posted by SisterHavana at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I love this clip of Annie Lennox and David Bowie rehearsing Under Pressure for a tribute to Freddie Mercury. At about 2:50 Brian May looks back at Annie with a big smile, and George Michael is in the background singing along. I like this clip better than the actual concert footage.
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2016 [4 favorites]

One of my favorites is the Australian Michael Hutchence tribute concert, with Terence Trent D'Arby fronting INXS.

The INXS guys are stoked, and with good reason. I still wish they'd gone forward with TTD. Would've been a hell of a band.
posted by MrKellyBlah at 2:45 PM on May 12, 2016

I love this song and I love this cover of it. Androgynous performed by Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett & Laura Jane Grace
posted by maupuia at 2:01 AM on May 13, 2016

Bruce Springsteen seems to be a recurring theme in many of these, but I have a few new ones. I love the collaboration between Springsteen and REM on Because the Night and Man on the Moon.
posted by jabes at 4:41 PM on May 13, 2016

At the end of every episode of public radio's Mountain Stage the bands who played on that episode all collaborate on a song of Larry Groce's choosing. They usually seem like they're having a pretty good time.

Example 1

Example 2
Example 3
posted by MsMolly at 3:30 PM on May 17, 2016

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